Happy New Year Baby!

HypnoBirthing Croydon

Another year has passed and I have been reflecting on what 2012 has brought with it – it has been quite  a year both professionally and personally for me, with lots of people helping me along the way, usually without even realising that they are helping me. I have been blessed to encounter so many lovely people who I have enjoyed working and studying with.

In my HypnoBirthing™ I have worked with:

  • couples who have had babies in the breech position and HypnoBirthing™ has helped the baby turn;
  • cynical dads (you know who you are!) who have really embraced HypnoBirthing™, realising that it is actually based on common sense and I’m not the hippy that they feared;
  • mums who thought an elective caesarean section might be the easier option only to end up looking forward to a natural birth after using HypnoBirthing™;Croydon HypnoBirthing
  • couples who haven’t had ‘text-book births’ but who have raved about how great their experience was because HypnoBirthing™ helped them to ‘own’ the decision making process;
  • mums who have been hospitalised during pregnancy so the HypnoBirthing™ sessions have taken place at hospital;
  • a mum who birthed her baby on 10/11/12!
  • lectured to student and registered midwives on how HypnoBirthing™ can facilitate a ‘normal birth’ and helped midwives to understand how they can best help HypnoBirthing parents.

In my BabyCalm™ work I have worked with:

  • Expectant first time parents who were nervous about what on earth wouldhow to calm a baby happen when their baby was born who went on to have lovely early days with their newborn;
  • New parents who thought that they were getting this parenting-lark wrong but actually when we talked about it in the Colic & Crying Workshop realised they were doing a great job;
  • New first-time mums who made great new friends in the Mother & Baby classes;
  • New second-time around mums who wanted to do things differently this time

Of course, bullet-pointing it like this doesn’t give scope to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed working with parents this year – with them typically arriving a little uncertain and leaving with raised self-confidence.

I’ve spent another year studying and attending some great events:

  • At the Royal College of Medicine Hypnosis in Childbirth Seminar I heard how HypnoBirthing™ is being used in the NHS and about the research being conducted by Professor Soo Downe (watch this space!)
  • At the BabyCalm Conference in London I met Michel Odent who spoke on the importance of Oxytocin in the post-natal bonding process, Naomi Stadlen who spoke on ‘What Mothers Do’ and Oliver James who spoke on ‘Love Bombing’. All very thought provoking.
  • At the HypnoBirthing™ Institute Study Day in London I heard the founder of HypnoBirthing™, Mickey Mongan, speak about the improvements being made to the HypnoBirthing™ course.
  • Exhibited at the NCT Baby Show at Trinity School, Croydon, meeting lots of expectant and new parents and meeting lots of other birth and baby professionals
  • Exhibited at the Mothercare Baby & Me Event, again meeting a cross-section of expectant parents.

I was also awarded the Gold Seal by the HypnoBirthing Institute and the HypnoBirthing UK Advisory Board nominated me as the Regional Liaison for South London.

Croydon HypnoBirthingPhew! What a year! On top of all this, I took up running this time last year (not a New Year Resolution, just happened to find a fantastic pair of running shoes) and went from being able to run about 100m (I kid you not!) to running the Croydon 10K in October in 7 minutes less than I anticipated with the 2 best supporters in the world cheering me on!

I wonder how 2013 will top that!

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HypnoBirthing and Sceptical Dads

More often than not, expectant dads come to HypnoBirthing™ suspicious, sceptical and cynical. However, they are there to support their partner and I appreciate the effort they put in to it. Over time, that scepticism falls away. Here is one such story:

Madeline and Nathan recently attended a group course and are awaiting the birth of their first child. I met them before they booked the course. Madeline was very positive about HypnoBirthing™ whilst Nathan literally stroked his chin, presumably suspicious of the efficacy of HypnoBirthing. When he finally spoke he said that he was willing to support Madeline in HypnoBirthing™ if it could help improve the birth by 1%.

The course is now finished and both Madeline and Nathan contributed really well to the class. Nathan seemed really positive although he reserved the right to retain some scepticism. However, he has forwarded the following thoughts on the course which I hope will help any other sceptical dads out there (who are forced to read this by their partners):

“The HypnoBirthing course took away the uncertainty of labour and pregnancy and has chilled out both my wife and me. I was quite a cynic to start with and thought it was interesting to challenge our perception of what labour is going to be like. This course made me realise that the experience of birth could actually be a pleasurable one and quite spiritual. Talking about it on the course took away the stress and worry about what might happen. 

It has worked as much for me as it has for my wife. It really connected us on a deeper level. The balance of practical and theory throughout the course really appealed to my man brain! The meditation and HypnoBirthing practices have been useful in everyday life to relax us as well as our practice for birthing. 

I really enjoyed the course and have already recommended it to other people. It’s definitely worth doing!”

I’m really looking forward to hearing their birth story in due course!

Another Lovely HypnoBirth

I received another lovely birth story last week. It’s a great story. Whilst the birth isn’t ‘text-book’ the techniques and confidence gained from HypnoBirthing allowed mum and dad to enjoy their amazing birth – which is what it’s all about!

So, let me introduce you to Francesca, Baydon and the delightful Frida:

HypnoBIrthing Frida

“I went into at 3am on Sunday 25th and spent the day timing surges on my iPhone app but they were pretty irregular so I was mostly watching TV and sleeping. They started off about every 7-10 mins then started to speed up to about every 4-5 mins so we went in to Croydon University Hospital at about 10pm. I was cool as a cucumber at this point. The 1st hurdle was triage when they discovered I had a really high pulse rate which meant I wouldn’t be able to go to the Birth Centre. They suggested that I was dehydrated and they said if I could bring my pulse rate down through hydration I could be transferred to the birth centre.

The midwife we had that night and the one in the morning were both fantastic – particularly the one on the Monday who was there until the birth. On Sunday night I was still going strong with my breathing techniques and visualisation and Baydon was able to really keep me on track. It was actually amazing how any pain melts away when you relax into the surge. The Monday midwife was really familiar with HypnoBirthing and was totally respectful of all our birth preferences. She really acted as a first line of defence for us when the doctors started suggesting things.

On Monday they started talking about breaking my waters to -as you said- get things moving. The midwife gave us loads of time and options to consider. By 2.30pm we’d tried various things and I’d been going 36 hours so we decided to go for it. In hindsight I’m unsure whether this was the right decision but we know that ultimately it was our decision and no one talked us into it. My pulse rate was also still very high which was an important factor.

The surges picked up pace and intensity very quickly after that. Before we knew what was what they’d increased to the point where they were back to back which meant that I wasn’t getting the respite between surges to get my head together. Even 30 seconds would have been nice! I very quickly made the decision to have an epidural and once that was done I was absolutely elated. However, after the epidural, her heart rate dropped so they really wanted to just get her out. Our midwife was fantastic about explaining how this would affect our birth preferences and what the risks and options were. I had a ventouse delivery and ended up combining that with coughing to get her out as that was what worked! Frida had been fully engaged for 5 weeks so once they went in for her it didn’t take long at all. I did have an episiotomy although I asked not to so the obstetrician said he’d do his best. I ended up with just a small cut and a few stitches which he said would have been a lot more had I not been doing the perineal massage. They’ve completely healed now, less than 2 weeks later.

We had immediate skin to skin and as soon as the paediatrician was happy she was fine they all cleared out and left us alone in the room for a couple hours which was really lovely.

Ultimately labour was 40 hours and for 36 of those I was feeling great – I like to think HypnoBirthing on its own got me 90% of the way there! We also both felt 100% that decisions were our own and where they were dictated it was by circumstance rather than opinion. I came away feeling really quite positive about my birth.

So today she was officially registered. We’re getting out once a day and she’s gaining weight and we’re breast feeding like there’s no tomorrow! She’s an absolute treasure and doesn’t grumble too much and sleeps at night a reasonable amount. She’s totally enchanting and entertaining.

Thank you so much for all your guidance as it really helped us to have the most positive birth possible and obviously we’re totally made up with the outcome!”

Wow! What a great birth! For more testimonials, take look at this page.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Will Catherine use HypnoBirthing?I really feel for Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. She’s obviously having a dreadful time of it with severe ‘morning sickness’ – a ridiculous euphemism if ever I heard one! She must have been really ill to go to hospital because the act of going to hospital has somewhat let the cat out of the bag – and that’s why I really feel for her; she hasn’t been able to keep her baby secret to herself.

Some people can’t wait to tell the world and are on the phone or social media as soon as the line appears in the window. Others, me included, decide to wait until it is ‘safe’ which is usually considered to be after the dating scan at around 12 weeks. Sources differ but at least 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage and being a very practical person, I felt that I wouldn’t be able to cope with that if ‘everyone’ knew. Can you imagine what it must be like if ‘everyone’ literally is everyone in the street, in the papers, on the TV, on social media? Crikey.

Once we had had a positive scan we felt that we ought to start telling people but really neither of us wanted to. It was our little secret; it was our family sprouting into life and I wanted to hold it (the secret and our baby) close to me, to protect it. I felt that once the secret was out, that we wouldn’t own it any more, that we wouldn’t be in control of it.

So, I feel for Catherine, not just because she is feeling dreadful physically but because she knows that when she leaves the hospital, she must face a barrage of cameras flashing, she must smile and wave and she will know that we all know. I can but hope she will be given chance to enjoy her pregnancy away from the media, but that’s as likely as one of those blue moons!

How did you feel about telling people about your pregnancy – did you want to tell the world straight way or was it a secret you wanted to keep to yourself. Please write a comment on what was important to you.

Guest Blog: from Dadbloguk.com

We need a drum role for Birth & Baby’s first guest blogger. Putting his head above the parapet this week is John Adams, editor of Dadbloguk.com. John talks about a dad’s role during birth. Whilst John is not a HypnoBirthing dad, the central message of advocacy and the importance of agreeing birth preferences stands true however you plan your birth and however it plays out:

What is dad’s role in the delivery room?

The one piece of advice I would give any soon-to-be dad is that you have a very important role as an advocate for your partner’s wishes. Whether in the delivery room during the birth itself or the maternity ward afterwards, you should be prepared to leap in and speak up so that the medical team know how your partner wishes to be treated.

The starting point is the birth plan. You should discuss this with your partner and make sure you know it in detail. You’d be well advised to ensure the plan covers the main birthing possibilities; natural birth, forceps, ventouse and caesarean section. It should also be crystal clear about which pain relief options your partner is happy to consider.

Some people are very dismissive about birth plans and claim they aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. I think that’s an unnecessarily negative view. As the labour progresses, events will probably dictate the birth plan can’t be adhered to entirely. The plan will, however, give the medical team a very good idea about your other half’s wishes. Having you on hand to remind them of what the plan says may be no bad thing.

When our first daughter was born, I had to speak up for my wife when it became clear a forceps delivery was required. As a first time mum she was nervous and told me she wanted the benefit of powerful pain relief if things got difficult as she didn’t want to be put off having further children.

The consultant had been planning to deliver our child in the delivery room with minimal anaesthesia. When I spoke up and relayed my wife’s wishes, he agreed to move to an operating theatre where other anaesthetics could be used. I also got a knowing wink from the midwife which suggested I had said all the right things!

Something else to keep in mind is that your partner’s memory and concentration will be affected by all that’s going on. On top of the fatigue caused by labour, she will probably have been puffing on gas and air for hours and may well be under the influence of pethidine or the epidural (if she’s had one). Do not expect her to remember the finer details of her birth plan and do not expect her to remember anything you say to her at this point. You are likely to be disappointed!

If you do find yourself having to speak up, be polite, clear and quick. Events in the delivery room can move very fast. You don’t want to get in the way or annoy the midwives and consultants who know a lot more about what’s going on than you.

You may also find there’s a lot of activity around your partner’s bed. Measurements need to be taken of the mother’s body, drips and cannulas need to be fitted, the gas and air pipe will be swinging around all over the place and there could be goodness knows how many people in the room. While you probably want to hold her hand and offer soothing words, be prepared to take four paces back and let the team get on with it.

Once the baby has been born, you may still have an advocacy role. If everything is straightforward and she is discharged from hospital within a day or so, this is likely to be minimal. If, however, your partner is kept in for a protracted period of time you may need to speak to the doctors and midwives.

Post-birth hormones will be running high and your partner may be more emotional than usual. This is perfectly normal but it may mean that you have to get involved and explain what your partner’s mood is really like and how you think any medication treatments are affecting her.

Another piece of advice is to expect the unexpected. I’ve been present at the birth of both my children and they were both radically different experiences. The first was a more complex birth but the second was so quick and easy even the medical team was taken by surprise.

I also wish you the very best of luck as a father. It’s not always an easy job but it is very rewarding.

John Adams is the editor of Dadbloguk.com. Follow him on Twitter @dadbloguk

Be Prepared for the Christmas Rush

Are we in the middle of a Christmas Baby Boom?

Over the last month or so I have had a lot of enquiries for HypnoBirthing and BabyCalm courses, often from friends of mums and dads who have had calm births and now have calm babies, thanks to these courses. However, I can’t fit everyone in and it upsets me to have to turn down people who I know I could help to have easier births and a happier experience of early parenting. It hurts especially when I am unable to help people who have been referred to me by happy clients (who are like family).

So, I beseech you, do not be afraid to contact me earlier than you think is necessary. If you call me when you are 35 weeks pregnant, I may not be able to fit you into one of my classes, and if you contact me when your baby is 12 weeks old I may not be able to fit you into a BabyCalm Mother & Baby course.

Do feel free to contact me in your first or second trimester – if you’re the first to book a HypnoBirthing course of BabyCalm Antenatal Workshop I may even reschedule it to a day that suits you. By the same token, do feel free to book a BabyCalm post-natal course in the first few weeks of parenthood or even, as some do, before your baby is born. I keep my courses small so that you have chance to ask the questions you need answers to and so that you can get to know the other parents well, which has led to lots of groups of friends being made.

Alternatively, if you have a group of friends in a similar position as you i.e. pregnant or a new parent, I may be able to schedule a course for your group – you can but ask!

I hope this helps anyone considering booking a course. I am already taking bookings for 2013 courses so do contact me if you think you’d like to make a future booking.

Safe Babywearing

One of the easiest ways to keep your baby happy through the day whilst getting on with the things you need to do is to ‘babywear’ – in other words to carry your baby in a carrier / sling / wrap. Your baby gets to feel snuggled up to its favourite person, listening to your breathing and your heart-beating whilst being rocked as you move along. When you think about it, it’s really reminiscent for your baby of being in the womb, which let’s face it, was a really nice place for him/her to be.

There are loads of Babywearing products on the market and I’m not going to tell you which to buy (whispers: the Moby Wrap is my favourite) but what I can do is give you a few pointers on what to look for. The primary thing we are looking to avoid is an occurrence of hip dysplasia or dislocation.

After birth, it takes several months for your baby’s hip and knee joints to stretch out naturally, perhaps even longer for a Frank Breech baby. The hip-joint is a ball and socket joint. During the first few months of life the ball is more likely to be loose within the socket because babies are naturally flexible and because the edges of the socket are made of soft cartilage. If the hips are forced into a stretched-out position too early, the ball is at risk of permanently deforming the edges of the cup-shaped socket (hip dysplasia) or gradually slipping out of the socket altogether (hip dislocation).

So what does this have to do with Babywearing? Well, quite a lot of carriers, especially those available on the High Street, don’t hold the child in a helpful way. What you’re ideally looking for is for your baby’s legs to be held in a frog-like pose so that the hips are held correctly. Here are some great pictures from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute:

This first picture shows a typical, well-marketed carrier. The ball of the hip joint is pushed out, risking hip dysplasia/dislocation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This second picture shows a well-designed carrier; it holds the baby’s hip joint in the correct position. Consider these images when choosing the carrier for you and your baby. Basically, look for ‘froggy-style’ legs rather than a ‘crotch-dangler’.

5 TICKS to safety:

To ensure your baby remains safe – just remember TICKS:

T – TIGHT – The carrier should be tight enough to hug your baby close to you as this will be most comfortable for you both. If it is too loose, your baby will slump down in the carrier which can hinder their breathing and pull on your back.

I – IN VIEW – You should always be able to see your baby’s face by simply glancing down without having to move any fabric. In a cradle position your baby should face upwards rather than turned in towards your body.

C – CLOSE ENOUGH TO KISS – your baby’s head should be as close to your chin as is comfortable. By tipping your head forward you should be able to kiss your baby on the head or forehead.

K- KEEP CHIN OFF THE CHEST – If your baby’s chin is on their chest, their breathing  could be restricted. Ensure there is always a space of at least a finger width under your baby’s chin.

S- SUPPORTED BACK – in an upright carry, a baby should be held comfortably close to the wearer so their back is supported in its natural position and their tummy and chest are against you. A good rule of thumb is to place a hand on your baby’s back and pressing gently – they should not uncurl or move closer to you. A baby in a cradle carry in a pouch or ring sling should be positioned carefully with their bottom in the deepest part so the sling does not fold.

If you’d like to find a range of safe carriers, take a look at the shop here

If you want more information on Hip Dysplasia, take a look here